Where would the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals be without Joe Kelly?
Or, more specifically, where would they be since the All-Star break without him? Since the break ended July 19, eight Cardinals have started at least one game. Thanks to Kelly’s six scoreless innings yesterday in the Cards 4-0 win over the Chicago Cubs, he leads those starters both in ERA, as his is 1.55 in five starts, and in wins with three.
Once again, yesterday he was the stopper too — a familiar role, since he’s started seven games following Cardinals losses. Of course he once again came through. His 1.51 ERA in those situations shows he usually does.
Even though he’s everyone’s favorite goofball on days he doesn’t start, the guy is all business — and successful business — on those days he takes the mound.
Which has been exactly what the Cardinals have needed.
Another guy who’s been just what the Cards need: Yadier Molina. Small sample size alert, but the team has won the two games he’s been in the lineup since coming off the disabled list on Thursday. And yesterday he was a major factor in the win, as he launched a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers (you can certainly hear in the Cards’ fan presence at Wrigley yesterday in that clip) plus had a double. It’s nice to see him getting his timing back, and nice to see a Cardinal hit a home run for the first time since Matt Holliday hit one against the Cubs last Saturday.
Carlos Beltran had an RBI-double to score Matt Carpenter and put the Cards on the board in the fourth, while they added another run in the second on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Marp in the fifth — a play that’s getting all kinds of attention.
Here’s the video of it, and it’s definitely interesting to hear Tom Verducci’s comments toward the end of the clip. Yes, Starlin Castro is the one getting mentioned — he was pulled from the game when the inning ended, for putting his head down and giving up on the play, and it was a good move by Dale Sveum to do that. But listen to Verducci — it wasn’t just Castro who gave up, as he mentions the entire Cubs defense relaxing after the play and specifically mentions Darwin Barney leaving second base open, which allowed Joe Kelly to move up from first. And Verducci is high on the praise for the Cardinals too, for taking advantage in that situation. (Jon Jay’s had some pretty good baserunning this week, hasn’t he?)
Yesterday’s Cardinals win combined with the Diamondbacks destroying the Pirates 15-5 and the Brewers once again beating the Reds put the Cardinals two games back at the moment. The series finale against the Cubs is this afternoon at 1:20 p.m., with Adam Wainwright looking for his first win since July 21 against Edwin Jackson.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.